Central square in Stepanakert. Photo: Sputnik / Arpi Beglaryan https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/karabah/20181108/15562199/reshayushchij-golos-nagornogo-karabaha-mnacakanyan-rasstavil-tochki-nad-astan.html

05 December 2018, 11:19

NKR's MFA doesn't rule out releasing Azerbaijani soldier

The authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) has found Azerbaijan's proposal to exchange prisoners unacceptable; however, they are ready to release one of the three Azerbaijani prisoners, namely, the soldier Elnur Guseinzade, ahead of time, said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the NKR.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on November 20, the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, found it inappropriate to exchange prisoners with Azerbaijan on the "all for all" principle. At the same time, on November 17-19, residents of Armenia held three protest actions, demanding to return home Karen Kazaryan, a resident of the village of Berdavan of the Tavush Region, who was captured in July 2018.

According to official data, three Armenian citizens are in captivity in Azerbaijan: Arsen Bagdasaryan, Zaven Karapetyan and Karen Kazaryan. On the Armenian side, in Nagorno-Karabakh, there are three citizens of Azerbaijan: Shakhbaz Guliev and Dilkham Askerov, detained in 2014, and Elnur Guseinzade, detained in 2017. An NKR's court sentenced Guliev and Askerov to 22 years and lifelong imprisonment, respectively, on charges of a number of crimes.

Artak Nersisyan, the official spokesman of the NKR's MFA, commented on December 4 on the proposal for the exchange of Azerbaijani and Armenian prisoners: he ruled out any exchange of Askerov and Guliev, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.

"Dilkham Askerov and Shakhbaz Guliev have been convicted for committing a number of grave and especially grave crimes, including a kidnapping and murder of a minor guy. According to the norms of the international humanitarian law, they are neither hostages nor prisoners of war," Mr Nersisyan has stated.

On the other hand, he has treated the three Armenians held in Azerbaijan as hostages. "They have committed no crimes in the territory of Azerbaijan; moreover, two of them have certain health problems. Their retention in Azerbaijan is a gross violation of the norms of the international humanitarian law," the press service of the MFA of the NKR quotes Nersisyan on its website.

He criticized Baku's attempts to equate "those convicted of grave crimes with those innocent," but stated a possibility for early release of the Azerbaijani citizen Elnur Guseinzade "as a humanitarian gesture."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 5, 2018 at 06:28 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Alvard Grigoryan; Source: CK correspondent

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